Is corporate social responsibility a new business trend or perhaps a source for competitive advantage? It definitely is a catchphrase of the early 21st century business. The impact of business on the social and natural environment has been more or less under discussion for the past 40 years but in recent years it has become one of the most relevant issues in the business environment. Investors, academics, NGOs and business consultants are all talking about corporate social responsibility. In this report, I attempt to show the corporate social responsibility program at Deutsche Post DHL from a self-reporting and an outside-image view.
Moreover, I will introduce the different levels of CSR as well as the conflict between Corporate Social Performance (CSP) and Corporate Financial Performance (CFP). Furthermore, I will discuss the moral foundation of Deutsche Post DHL. In my proposition, the paper will be divided into the following three main parts: critical analysis of the Deutsche Post DHL program, CSR debates and moral foundation. The first part will show the diversity of social engagements at Deutsche Post DHL. I intend to point out the three main focus areas – environment, disaster management and education, rather than focusing on individual projects.
Furthermore, this section should include an overview of the positive and negative critique of the CSR program at Deutsche Post DHL. The second part will deal with the conflict between CSR and CFP and Corporate Social Performance (CRP). Subsequently to the theory, I will answer two questions: 1. Does Deutsche Post DHL benefit from its social and environmental activities? 2. What CSP-levels did Deutsche Post DHL reach so far? The last part explains the moral philosophy of Aristotle and to what extend the CSR program of Deutsche Post DHL is based on this moral foundation.
As a result, I aim to demonstrate that on the one hand, the company is able to help the society and to minimize its negative impact on the environment. On the other hand, the company is trying to maximize its profit. At the end, I conclude that Deutsche Post DHL is seriously engaging in corporate social responsibility but the company does not stop thinking about its financial performance. 2. Introduction The discussion about companies’ social and corporate responsibility is gaining importance in the past years. The state, employees and other stakeholders demand more than profit maximization.
Companies are asked to operate socially responsible. The fundamental idea is about a give-and-take basis. A variety of companies recognized already the importance of giving and they are presenting themselves as socially responsible. But many of them are doing it, because they want to get a profit out of it. Through a look inside a company, one can observe that at the back of obvious social activities, companies are profit maximizing with their engagements. In order to identify the exact reasons, why a company may engage in CSR, this report will focus on a single company – Deutsche Post DHL.
Deutsche Post DHL is the world’s leading postal and logistics group. Its integrated DHL and Deutsche Post brands offer comprehensive services in international express, air and ocean freight, road and rail transportation and contract logistics. Deutsche Post is Germany’s only universal provider of postal services and delivers mail and parcel in Germany and the world. The Group generated revenue of more than 46 billion Euros in 2009 with over 470,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories (cf. Annual Report, 2009).
As such, Deutsche Post DHL has a special responsibility to use its core expertise to the benefit of society and to continuously minimize its negative impact on the environment. 3. Methods The purpose of this paper is to obtain knowledge about CSR and to analyze the CSR program at Deutsche Post DHL critically. Therefore, I will illustrate how Deutsche Post DHL presents its CSR program. I intend to point out the three main focus areas – environment, disaster management and education, rather than focusing on individual projects.
Additionally, this part will give a summary of the positive and negative critique of the CSR program at Deutsche Post DHL. With these critiques, one will be able to prove the reliability of the CSR program at Deutsche Post DHL. In the second section, I will focus on the conflict between the stakeholders and the shareholders perspective. Furthermore, I will give an overview of the different elements in Corporate Social Performance: social responsibility, social responsiveness and social issues. Subsequently to the theory, the report will demonstrate how Deutsche Post DHL implemented the theory.
Additionally, the report aims to show Deutsche Post DHL’s level of CSP. After the CSR debates, the report will introduce the morale ideas of Aristotle and how the Deutsche Post DHL’s CSR program bases on these ideas. Due to the word limit, this report will not include other morale foundations such as Machiavelli, Rousseau or Locke. The last part will summarize the results before there will be a final conclusion. 4. How does Deutsche Post DHL present its CSR program? In 2006, Deutsche Post DHL introduced a code of conduct which is compulsory in all regions and all departments.
“The key pillars of this code of conduct are respect, tolerance, honesty and candor as well as willingness to assume social responsibility. The guidelines apply to all employees, irrespective of their place in the Group’s hierarchy, and to divisions” (Deutsche Post DHL, 2010). Additionally, Deutsche Post DHL has chosen “Living Responsibility” (Sustainability Report, 2009) as its motto, which ought to symbolize its variety of initiatives in the areas of environmental protection, disaster management and education.
“They are designed to increase the employees’ motivation and their identification with the company as well as to make the group more well-known and respected and to improve its competitive position” (Annual Report, 2009). 4. 1. Environmental Protection – Go Green In 2008, Deutsche Post DHL initiated its ambitious GoGreen climate protection program. The company’s goal is to “reduce CO2 emissions for every letter and parcel sent, every tonne of cargo transported and for every square meter of warehouse space used by 30% by 2020 (compared to our 2007 baseline)” (Deutsche Post DHL, 2010).
Since the transport-related CO2 emissions are determined and offset through internal reduction measures and external climate protection projects, Deutsche Post DHL became the first logistics company offering carbon neutral packages. Furthermore, the company invented a pilot project with new transporters which are using less fuel and alternatives to fossil fuels (cf. Deutsche Post DHL, 2010). 4. 2. Disaster Management – Go Help Due to comprehensive expertise in logistics and the high profile worldwide, Deutsche Post DHL is well prepared for helping at natural disasters.
Deutsche Post DHL’s support focuses on two core areas: Logistics support after natural disasters and disaster preparedness. Primarily, the task of DHL Disaster Response Teams (DRT) is to eliminate shortages in the disaster area. For that reason, trained logistic experts are going into the affected areas and to the airports respectively in order to coordinate activities. These experts see to it that the transport of substantial relief goods such as food, medicine and sanitary articles is ongoing – even if there is no infrastructure (cf.Deutsche Post DHL, 2010).After these teams are requested by the UN-Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), they are ready for action within 72 hours. There are three teams, which form a network covering almost all regions in the world that are affected by natural disasters on a regular basis. Furthermore, Deutsche Post DHL supports locals, who are responsible for disaster preparedness. For optimal trainings, Deutsche Post DHL cooperates with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Together they invented the program Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD), which prepares airports to handle the flow of incoming relief goods (cf. Deutsche Post DHL, 2010). 4. 3. Education Programs – Go Teach Alongside the focus areas environment and disaster management, education is the third focus area at Deutsche Post DHL. The company believes that “Education is key to our children’s future and our own success as the world’s leading logistics company and one of the largest employers worldwide” (Deutsche Post DHL, 2010). Therefore, Deutsche Post DHL is cooperating with Teach First Deutschland in Germany.
Teach First Deutschland is an initiative launched in 2009. By working in a secondary school for two years as Fellows, outstanding university graduates help to ensure that even children and youths with fewer opportunities get a chance to move up. (cf. Teach First, 2010). Additionally, Deutsche Post DHL wants to encourage its engagements in education all over the world. 5. How does the environment respond to Deutsche Post DHL’s CSR Program? During the past years, Deutsche Post DHL obtained awards and positive critique as well as negative critique for its CSR program and its efforts.